THE 10-member Association of South-East Asian Nations (Asean) and its neighbours endorsed the Iranian nuclear energy deal yesterday, on the anniversary of the Hiroshima bombings.
In a joint statement, the foreign ministers of the Asean countries, along with Japan, China, Australia, India, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, Russia and the United States, welcomed last month’s agreement as an as an “important resolution” to years of nuclear proliferation.
The deal allows Iran to pursue its peaceful atomic energy programme free from Western sanctions in return for inspections of its atomic facilities.
Asean comprises Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines and Vietnam.
On Monday, the six members of the Gulf Co-operation Council — Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates — came out in support of the agreement after meeting US Secretary of State John Kerry in Doha.
Shortly before the Asean statement was released, Mr Kerry met Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida in the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur.
The US secretary of state said the anniversary of the bombing was a “very powerful reminder” of the impact of war.
“It is impossible not to have thoughts about it,” he said, after watching the commemorations in Japan on television.
“It also underscores the importance of the agreement we have reached with Iran to reduce the possibility of more nuclear weapons,” he said.
“The United States and other countries are working — particularly Russia and the United States with our agreement — to reduce the number of existing nuclear weapons.”